Norton Nissan driver Michael Caruso has wrapped up 10th place in the V8 Supercars Championship after a dramatic race at Sydney Olympic Park last weekend.
Caruso’s car retired from the race after six laps when an engine drama ruled him out. Caruso was fighting as many as four other drivers for the coveted 10th place, and just scraped through by 19 points over Jason Bright.
For James Moffat, it was a day that could have brought more. Running a wet set-up, he started the race well but slipped back when the weather dried up.
Moffat completed the championship in 17th place.
The event also marked the final event as Norton as a title sponsor of Nissan Motorsport.
The next time the V8 Supercars will be on track will be at the two-day pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park on February 7-8, 2015.
Michael Caruso, #36 Norton Nissan Altima
“It’s terrific that we were able to hold onto 10th place in the championship,” said Michael Caruso.
“I thought we had no chance after our engine problem, but it seems like the points gods were looking down kindly on me.
“We certainly don’t aim to finish 10th in any championship – we are always aiming to win – but given the development curve that Nissan Motorsport has been on over the past two years, this is a nice reward for the team.
“My race was done in the first six laps. There was a problem with the engine and the boys tried to fix it, but the issue was more terminal than first thought.
“Regardless, we’ll put this down to experience and aim even higher in 2015.”
James Moffat, #360 Norton Nissan Altima
“The rain will go down as the talking point of this year’s Sydney race, considering the conditions we’ve had on both days here,” said James Moffat.
“In situations like that, it’s a matter of trying to survive and just run around.
“It’s a little disappointing to finish the year off like that. The majority of the race was in the dry, and we’d gone for a wet set-up. The car was reasonably speedy in the wet but nowhere in the dry.
“Overall, it was a disappointing year. For me, it’s not where I want to be, but I can’t thank the effort of the guys in the team. We’ll keep working hard over the off-season to come back bigger and stronger.
“I also need to pay a massive thanks to our naming-rights partner Norton. Sadly, they will not be continuing with us next year and are out of the sport.
“They’ve been a fantastic sponsor of mine over a long period of time, and together we did some pretty cool things.
“In particular, I need to thank Matthew Drake. Without his support, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Jack Daniel’s Racing Strong in Sodden Sydney
Jack Daniel’s Racing rounded out season 2014 at the wet and wild Sydney NRMA 500 on a strong note, with a pair of solid results for the Nissan Altimas of Rick and Todd Kelly.
Rick Kelly started the day on a high note, with his ninth fastest qualifying performance converted to sixth in the top-ten shootout.
Throughout the race, Rick ran strongly with Tim Slade and Scott McLaughlin, and as the heavens opened for the second consecutive day, he was positioned seventh – his second top-10 result of the weekend.
The result saw Rick finish the Championship in 13th place, only three points off 12th position in the final point score.
Elder brother Todd meanwhile got his day off to an inauspicious start when brake issues saw him relegated to 26th position for the start of the 250km long race.
A storming drive however saw him carve through to 14th position by the time the race was called.
RICK KELLY – #15 Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan Altima:
Qualifying Race 38- 9th
Top-Ten Shootout- 6th
Result Race 38- 7th
“It was a fun race,” said Rick Kelly.
“I’ve got really mixed emotions now that it’s all over, finishing inside the top-10 is great, but disappointed that I didn’t finish further up in the points standings.
“There is something like 12 points to 11th and 30 points to tenth.
“So you count back through the year and all of the times you could have made that up, it shows just how close the championship really is.
“I’m stoked to have finished with a couple of top-ten results this weekend, and I can’t wait for next year.”
TODD KELLY – #7 Jack Daniel’s Racing Nissan Altima:
Qualifying Race 38- 26th
Result Race 38- 14th
“It was a bit of a rough start to the day, not being able to get a lap in during qualifying with a bit of a brake problem,” said Todd Kelly.
“So for the last race of the year we started dead last, which wasn’t ideal, but we pushed on as hard as we could and moved forward as best we could.
“We were sitting in 14th at the end. It’s just a shame it rained that hard, because when it start to rain it was fairly wet, and we were able to make up some positions.
“If it stayed like that we would have been able to push on, but when it rains here, it seems to rain pretty hard!”